Despite having three viable trade candidates, Philadelphia has been rather mum on its desire to move any of its pieces before the upcoming trade deadline. Jon Morosi reported over the weekend that the Phillies have been in trade talks with the Baltimore Orioles regarding starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, a Maryland resident and player who was more or less coaxed out of retirement to pitch for the 43-55 Redstripes.
Phillies and Orioles have had very preliminary talks on a trade that would send A.J. Burnett to Baltimore, sources tell @FOXSports1.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 19, 2014
Burnett would be an improvement for Baltimore, a club that clings to a three-game lead over Toronto and New York in the American League East. On the year, he's thrown 136.2 innings with rates of 7.44 K/9 and 3.82 BB/9 and a 4.08 ERA. He wouldn't be the top-end player that a lot of teams look for in July, but he'd give them productive innings for a reasonable sacrifice of talent and money.
As for Cliff Lee, he is returning from an injury and will make his first start since May 18th, and a good showing would go a long way in giving teams confidence that he can continue to be Cliff Lee. For Philadelphia's part, though, they have a good deal more apprehension about trading Lee than they do Burnett, and would more or less be seeking a deal for a top-end pitcher, and it is unknown at this time if a team is willing to foot the bill for his services.
On the year, Lee has made just ten starts, but has pitched remarkably, striking out 8.07 batters per nine innings while walking just five in sixty-eight innings. His ERA is 3.18. Lee is under contract thru 2015 with an option year for 2016.
Which brings us around to Cole Hamels, and while Jim Bowden was willing to make some idle speculation regarding potential fits for the Phillies southpaw, such claims are disingenuous. Hamels isn't going anywhere. Every team that has contacted the Phillies about Hamels has been told, plainly and unequivocally, no. He is under contract for four more seasons after 2014, plus an option year for 2019. Unlike Lee or Burnett, Hamels has been a lifetime Phillie, and whatever shades you draw regarding modern and traditional worldviews, the Phillies still believe it means something.
Besides, there isn't a single team that has what it takes to attract the club into trading Hamels. Not truly, anyway. If David Price is drawing the possibility of Taijuan Walker and more, for a season and a half of work, what would five years of Hamels truly be worth? A lot more than any team is willing to give up.